Conversion of mdx myofibres from dystrophin-negative to -positive by injection of normal myoblasts

Nature. 1989 Jan 12;337(6203):176-9. doi: 10.1038/337176a0.


An important corollary to the recent advances in our understanding of the primary cause of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, is the validation of genuine genetic homologues as animal models of the disease in which potential therapies can be tested. The persistent skeletal muscle necrosis that characterizes human Duchenne muscular dystrophy is also seen in the mdx mouse and is, in both, a consequence of a deficiency of dystrophin, probably within the muscle fibres themselves. As injected muscle precursor cells of one genotype can fuse with host muscle fibres of a different genotype and express the donor genes, we decided to test grafts of normal muscle precursor cells to see if they could induce synthesis of dystrophin in innately dystrophin-deficient mdx muscle fibres. We show that injected normal muscle precursor cells can fuse with pre-existing or regenerating mdx muscle fibres to render many of these fibres dystrophin-positive and so to partially or wholly rescue them from their biochemical defect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Cell Fusion
  • Dystrophin
  • Glucose-6-Phosphate Isomerase / analysis
  • Glucose-6-Phosphate Isomerase / genetics
  • Isoenzymes / analysis
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Muscle Proteins / analysis
  • Muscle Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Muscles / metabolism
  • Muscles / transplantation*
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Animal / genetics*
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Animal / metabolism


  • Dystrophin
  • Isoenzymes
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Glucose-6-Phosphate Isomerase